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Benoît Lenzen, Catherine Theunissen and Marc Cloes

This exploratory study aimed to investigate elements involved in decision making in team handball live situations and to provide coaches and educators with teaching recommendations. The study was positioned within the framework of the situated action paradigm of which two aspects were of particular interest for this project: (a) the relationship between planning and action, and (b) the perception-action coordination. We used qualitative methods that linked (a) video observation of six female elite players’ actions during two championship matches and (b) self-confrontation interviews. Players’ verbalizations reflected that their decision making included the following: (a) perception (visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive), (b) knowledge (concepts, teammates and opponents’ characteristics, experience), (c) expectations (opponents and teammates’ intentions), and (d) contextual elements (score, power play, players on the field, match difficulty). Findings were discussed in terms of teaching implications.

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Jonathan R. Males, John H. Kerr, Joanne Thatcher and Emma Bellew

The present study investigated the psychological experiences of elite athletes in a team that failed using qualitative methods informed by reversal theory. Five athletes, from a national men’s volleyball team, playing in a European tournament completed a post-game review after each of 6 games. After the tournament, each player took part in in-depth semi-structured interviews, prompted by their post-game reviews. The results indicated that unrealistic expectations, poor team motivation, a negative coaching style, and faulty team process around game performance played an important role in the failure of this team. Also, inappropriate metamotivational states and state reversals were found to have had a negative impact on team performance. Several consultant recommendations for enhancing team motivation and functioning are identified.

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Michelle McCalpin, Blair Evans and Jean Côté

Competitive engineering is a process whereby sport organizations modify the rules, facilities, and equipment involved in sport to facilitate desirable athlete outcomes and experiences. Competitive engineering is being increasingly adopted by youth sport organizations with empirical evidence positively supporting its influence on skill development and performance. The purpose of this study was to explore young female athletes’ experiences in their modified soccer environment. Seventeen recreational and competitive soccer players, aged 8–11, participated in semistructured photo elicitation interviews that featured several visual qualitative methods (i.e., athlete-directed photography, drawing exercises, and pile-sorting) to facilitate insight on their sport environments. Results revealed that the athletes’ competitively engineered soccer experience was perceived as being a distinct environment that emphasized personal development, positive relationships, and the underlying enjoyment of sport. These findings shed light of how youth sport structure modifications influence the athletes’ experiences, providing practical implications to further promote positive youth sport experiences.

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Stephen Silverman and Mara Manson

As a part of their doctoral education, students complete a dissertation. Examining these dissertations can provide one analysis of research in a field. The primary purpose of this study was to analyze all physical education dissertations with a teaching focus that were completed between 1985 and 1999. All possible dissertations were examined through the electronic version of Dissertation Abstracts International. For the teaching dissertations (n = 201), each abstract was coded for (a) research type, (b) research focus, (c) student variable measured, (d) observation used, (e) interview used, (f) other methods used, (g) population, (h) general methodology, and (i) statistics reported/used. Most research on teaching dissertations addressed issues related to teacher effectiveness and focused on motor skill learning and attitude. There was an increase in qualitative methods from those reported in a previous study (Silverman, 1987). While there were methodological advances, many dissertations still used methods that were not informed by the research methods literature.

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Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews and Scott Fleming

This study explores the antecedents, mechanisms, influencing variables, and consequences of choking in sport and identifies interventions that may alleviate choking. Through the use of qualitative methods, the experiences of six elite golfers who choked frequently under pressure were examined and compared with five elite golfers who excelled frequently under pressure. The perspectives of four coaches who had worked extensively with elite golfers who had choked and excelled, were also considered. The study indicated that the participants choked as a result of distraction, which was caused by various stressors. Self-confidence, preparation, and perfectionism were identified as key influencing variables of the participants’ choking episodes, and the consequence of choking was a significant drop in performance that affected negatively future performances. Process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training, and a pre/postshot routine were perceived as interventions that may possibly prevent choking.

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Kathy Babiak

Interorganizational relationships have become increasingly important for sport organizations. The purpose of this study was to explore the determinants and conditions of partnership formation in a group of collaborating nonprofit, public, and private organizations. A conceptual framework that includes the determinants of legitimacy, stability, necessity, asymmetry, reciprocity, and efficiency were used. Conditions including interdependence and presence of an interpersonal network were also explored. This research employed qualitative methods to examine partners’ reasons for developing interorganizational relationships in a sport context. For the collaborating organizations, the determinants of legitimacy, stability, reciprocity, and efficiency prevailed as important motives for relationship formation. These findings help to refine and apply contemporary theory to sport management and can be used to help manage interorganizational relationships.

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Paul M. Wright and Suzanne Burton

Underserved youth are at risk for numerous threats to their physical and psychological well-being. To navigate the challenges they face, they need a variety of positive life skills. This study systematically explored the implementation and short-term outcomes of a responsibility-based physical activity program that was integrated into an intact high school physical education class. Qualitative methods, drawing on multiple data sources, were used to evaluate a 20-lesson teaching personal and social responsibility (TPSR) program. Participants were 23 African American students in an urban high school. Five themes characterized the program: (a) establishing a relevant curriculum, (b) navigating barriers, (c) practicing life skills, (d) seeing the potential for transfer, and (e) creating a valued program. Findings extend the empirical literature related to TPSR and, more generally, physical activity programs designed to promote life skills. Implications for practitioners are discussed.

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Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews and Scott Fleming

The study examined the effect of an evidence-based intervention on choking in golf. It is informed by the work of Hill, Hanton, Matthews and Fleming (2010a) that explored the experiences of elite golfers who either choked or excelled under pressure. The perceptions of elite golf coaches who worked with both ‘chokers’ and those who excelled, were also considered. It revealed that choking may be alleviated through the use of process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training and a pre/postshot routine. The present study incorporated each strategy into an intervention that was introduced to two professional golfers (aged 22) who choked under pressure regularly. Through an action research framework the impact of the intervention was evaluated over a ten month period via qualitative methods. The results indicated the intervention alleviated the participants’ choking episodes and so provides information that can be of use to practitioners working with golfers who choke.

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Rachel Arnold and David Fletcher

The purpose of this study was to synthesize the research that has identified the organizational stressors encountered by sport performers and develop a taxonomic classification of these environmental demands. This study used a meta-interpretation, which is an interpretive form of synthesis that is suited to topic areas employing primarily qualitative methods. Thirty-four studies (with a combined sample of 1809 participants) were analyzed using concurrent thematic and context analysis. The organizational stressors that emerged from the analysis numbered 1287, of which 640 were distinct stressors. The demands were abstracted into 31 subcategories, which were subsequently organized to form four categories: leadership and personnel, cultural and team, logistical and environmental, and performance and personal issues. This meta-interpretation with taxonomy provides the most accurate, comprehensive, and parsimonious classification of organizational stressors to date. The findings are valid, generalizable, and applicable to a large number of sport performers of various ages, genders, nationalities, sports, and standards.

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Lesley Ferkins and David Shilbury

To learn more about the governance of sport organizations, this study explored what meaning board members of national sport organizations (NSOs) attach to the concept of “strategic capability”. In so doing, the inquiry also identified factors considered to constrain or enable board strategic function. This paper draws on a body of knowledge developed over 38 years on board strategic function, primarily from the commercial setting but also from the emerging body of work in the nonprofit and sport governance setting. Located within the interpretive research paradigm this study engaged a range of different qualitative methods including cognitive mapping and visual imagery. Working across two NSOs in New Zealand, four elements were generated that served as reference points in mapping out the meaning of a strategically able board. These were categorized as the need to have capable people, a frame of reference, facilitative board processes, and facilitative regional relationships.